EXCLUSIVE: Convicted Nigerian soldiers held without food, care since April

FILE PHOTO: The soldiers sentenced to death for mutiny in September 2014

More than 50 Nigerian soldiers convicted and sentenced to death last year by a military court martial have been left to fend for themselves since April, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

Some of the convicted soldiers who spoke to this newspaper said they had been feeding themselves as well as providing their basic necessities for over eight months.

“They said we should feed ourselves,” said one of the soldiers detained at Arakan Barracks in Lagos.

“We survive by giving our ATM cards and the pins to our colleagues to help us withdraw money from our accounts which we use for our upkeep.

“We have been using our money to buy food, soap, and other things.”

The 54 soldiers, belonging to the 111 Special Forces, were convicted in December 2014 for conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny.

They were sentenced to death by firing squad.

Femi Falana, who represented 58 of the convicted soldiers at the military court martial, confirmed the soldiers had been abandoned and insisted it was the duty of the military authorities to feed the convicts.

“They ought to have been taken to prison since February this year,” said Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

“They were simply abandoned because the system has collapsed. This is just one example of the many violations in the military.”

Mr. Falana said he had brought the soldiers’ plight to the attention of the military hierarchy but got no explanation.

“Once they have been condemned, there’s no longer any regard for them.”

PREMIUM TIMES contacted Sani Usman, the Nigerian army spokesperson, on Sunday and he declined to comment in details on the matter saying he had “no information.”

“There is no way that could be unless there was a problem, like a communication gap,” said Mr. Usman, a Colonel.

The army spokesperson requested time to respond and promised to provide details by Monday.

However, as at Tuesday, a reminder to Mr. Usman did not elicit any reply.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the soldiers are detained in two groups of 30 and 24 – with the latter group being held in an underground facility.

Narrating their journey to detention, one of the convicts, who requested not to be named for fear of victimisation by the army authorities, said they had received an order to advance towards Damboa in Borno State on July 9, 2014, in ‘soft-skin vehicles’ – a convoy that includes Hilux vans and no armoured cars.

There was a distress call that the 195 Battalion in Damboa headquarters was being dislodged by Boko Haram terrorists.

They obeyed.

“We were ambushed at around 1.30 p.m. that afternoon where we lost 23 soldiers, four officers, and 32 injured,” Mr.Ogu said.

“The reason was we were not given armoured car.”

The soldier said they had earlier informed their Commander, Lieutenant Colonel K.C Uwa, that they needed an anti aircraft, RPG bombs, and an Armoured Personnel Carrier to respond to the distress call.

“He said we should not worry, when we get there.

“So after we were ambushed and attacked, we withdrew.

“We were unable to extricate the whole dead bodies because of the intensive fire of the terrorists.”

The soldier said they regrouped again at AIT, along Damboa road, and the next day (July 10th), they received from 7th Division, seven APCs and one ‘Emorab’ (a big APC with large front and back tyres equipped with an anti-aircraft).

“They were provided for us to go and pack the dead bodies of dead soldiers back to Maimalari Cantonment in Maiduguri.”

A happy beginning

The soldier said his group had been in Maiduguri since 2013.

All the deployment were led by Lieutenant Colonel S.S Ahmed and Colonel J.A Nuru. The Brigade Commander was M.I Yusuf, while the General Officer Commanding was Major General Entan.

“We were the first soldiers, about 120 of us, to be deployed to Damboa, Mafidin, Bali. We were the first to launch attack on Alagarno, a Boko Haram training ground stronger than Sambisa.

“They gave us anything we demanded. Even if they want to collect it back, they will do it after an operation.”

Back at their temporary base at Mulai Primary School, Damboa Road, on July 10, the soldiers gathered for their evening briefing by their Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Uwa.

“During briefing, usually they give soldiers opportunity to ask questions, if any, and we did,” our source said.

“He (Uwa) said he had been hearing of our prowess, that how come we lost the operation.

“We told him because we were not equipped. We used to get anything from 7th Division and we would win and even come back with Boko Haram weapons.

“We requested (for weapons), you didn’t give us.

“He said no operation until those things requested were provided.”

On August 3, 2014, Commander Uwa was replaced by Timothy Opurum, another Lieutenant Colonel.

“He (Opurum) called for Durbar (soldiers’ briefing) and we told him everything. We said we need those equipment for advancement.

“On 4th August, we were asked to advance to that same axis – Delwa, Bulabulin, and Damboa.

“We told him (Opurum) we were going to go but our ammunition had been exhausted. He called us and asked what we need. We said even if it’s one APC, 50 of us can go and come back.

“He left that night, around 2 a.m. with some soldiers to go and bring what we requested. He did not come back again.”

At around 8 a.m. on August 5, Colonel E.A Aladeniyi, an intelligence officer, arrived at the soldiers’ camp accompanied by some military police personnel.

“He (Aladeniyi) said we should dress up, that he’s moving us (from that primary school) to 7th Division in Maiduguri. We were about 67 in number.

“He said it’s a new order. He left with six soldiers because the vehicle he came with cannot contain all of us.

“Later, Captain Suleiman, a military police officer, came in with civilian JTF and, before we knew anything, they started dislodging our tent. They did not say a word to us until they left.”

The soldier said they were then asked by their Regimental Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Idris Danladi, to move to Sector 7 HQ – their administrative headquarters in Maiduguri.

“We did not see Lt. Col. Timothy again till the 10th. He asked us to gather, that he tried his best but did not succeed. That the GOC was angry.”

On August 18, the Boko Haram terrorists attacked Delwa, and the soldier and his group were given an APC to go and “extricate” their colleagues from the attack.

“We were the ones that repelled the terrorists. Even (Commander) Timothy commended us,” he said.

“On 23rd August, they asked us to file. We thought it was for the GOC (Major General M.Y Ibrahim) to commend us for the battle on the 18th and 19th but the GOC did not come.

“It was Major Yaro, a military police, that came and asked us to write statements about what happened on the 4th.

“On getting to Abuja, what we saw was criminal conspiracy and mutiny, a two-count charge.”


DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: Revealed!!! The Only Way Left of Getting an Extra Large Manhood and also Last Up to 38Mins+. Get the Insider Secret Here


TEXT AD: This NAFDAC APPROVED Solution Will Make You Stay Longer Than 40Mins In Bed Tonight And Help Your Erection. Click Here To Read The Free Reports


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • Holy truth

    While Dasuki & his heartless Co_thieves were busy sharing arms procurements booties. Dis guys are just too shameless & heartless, dey were busy stealing d money meant to kit dis soldiers while dis innocents soldiers were being railroaded into gallow to be slaughtered, Dasuki, d high thief dokpesi & d rest of dem were laughing to d banks with stolen money. God will harshly punish all of u wicked souls. U will not know peace again in ur lives. As u guys had made dis soldiers suffered unnecessary d same ways & more harsh ways will God punish u & ur households .

  • Manuel Tobby

    God will deliver Nigeria from itself!

  • _PREDICTIONS _FOR_2016

    Brace up Nigeria. Behold the PREDICTIONS for 2016. It is a very bright future. It is called CHANGE.

    1.WORKERS STRIKE
    There will be so much industrial unrest, especially in the first quarter of the year.

    2. SUBSIDY
    There will be removal of fuel subsidy and petrol (PMS) will sell over and above N100/litre, leaving the masses in more serious hardship. Product will not be available and long queue in petrol stations will persist throughout the first quarter of 2016 and beyond.

    3. ELECTRICITY
    Power generation will drop to the lowest ebb. Still, Federal Government will increase tariff in 2016.

    4. UNEMPLOYMENT
    Millions of jobs will be lost in 2016 as against the three million jobs promised by the APC yearly. Most States and Federal Government will retrench workers as evident in the over 2,000 Federal University workers already sacked.

    5. ECONOMIC POLICY
    Most private owned middle-class businesses will fold up because of bad economic policies of the Buhari-led government.

    6. DEVALUATION
    The Naira will continue to have a free fall which will take it to as low as N320 to one Dollar.

    7. ECONOMY
    The Buhari-led FG will have no solution to country’s economic problems.

    8. SECURITY
    Boko Haram will keep spreading and the Shiite Muslims will get more emboldened.

    9. HUMAN RIGHTS
    Penchant for dictatorship will rise with rampant human rights abuses and disobedience to court orders.

    10. ANTI-CORRUPTION
    Insincerity in the fight against corruption will continue and the fight will not only be selective and political, but targeted more at Southerners.

    11. ELECTIONS
    Attempt to forcefully control any of the South South States of Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Bayelsa by the APC will lead to unprecedented deaths.

    12. ECONOMY
    Crude oil price will fall to below and about $30 per barrel.

    ——————–
    PT, if some Governor had said this during President Jonathan’s regime would you have published it? Would you?

  • Oh!

    No other country in the world produces soldiers like Nigeria.
    Our boys are trained to sustain themselves by consuming thoughts and ideas about food.
    How else can one explain their continued existence without food since April?

  • sammyctu ode

    For God’s sake these soldiers are not animals. PMB should please intervene and our military top brass are still very barbaric. These soldiers should not be in prison for one hour anyway. The people that should be in prisons all over Nigeria are the dasukis, sambo, jonathan nwobodo, odilli, aneneh, bode george, okupe, fani kayode and many other criminal pdp evil men and women who looted all the funds meant to procure arms.Our military must change their evil and outdated inhuman ways.

  • ELKINGS

    I will highly recommend Ringoversea calling app to my people. It is so cheap to call Nigeria and other countries

  • David Adeniran

    Dasuki and Dokpesi deserve this inhuman treatment and not these poor soldiers!

  • Very Proud Oily IZON Redeemer

    The fake call by Falana a Yoruba man for that matter–who is also a leading figure in APC, is an insult on Nigerians———–Because he is part and parcel of the draconian government of Buhari and the maoing mourners in APC-?–The call by Falana is a clear indication that the Government of Buhari is the worst in Human History–That it has failed the Nation-period——-Even the Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler—-had a better leadership structure than what we now have in Nigerian under Buhari———-The leader of IPoB –Chief Kalu, recently declared that he will rather remain in prison than appear in the court of Buhari–shows the type of useless government Nigerians are faced with—Last year every Nigerian willing to travel for the Yuletide did so with ease—Cuse petrol was made available to motorist ——-Under Buhari Nigerian youths——are being hired and paid to lie that his luciferic government is the best in africa—what a shame–what a shame

  • Very Proud Oily IZON Redeemer

    The fake call by Falana a Yoruba man for that matter–who is also a leading figure in APC, is an insult on Nigerians———–Because he is part and parcel of the draconian government of Buhari and the maoing mourners in APC-?–The call by Falana is a clear indication that the Government of Buhari is the worst in Human History–That it has failed the Nation-period——Such a call will not have been attainable even the Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler—The monster called Buhari has no leadership structure in place———–The leader of IPoB –Chief Kalu, recently declared that he will rather remain in prison than appear in the court of Buhari–shows the type of useless government Nigerians are faced with—Last year every Nigerian willing to travel for the Yuletide, did so with ease—Cause petrol was made available to motorist ——-Under Buhari Nigerian youths——are being hired and paid to lie that his luciferic government is the best in africa—what a shame–what a country

  • bigbang

    Falana do like to exaggerate things.

  • Otile

    Why should the President continue to feed the insubordinate soldiers when he knows that he wants to execute them? President Buhari does not like to waste food.

  • Say the truth

    Even animals are treated honorably in sane societies. Bowe Bergdahi an American soldier deserted and jeopardized his troop in Afghanistan yet he was rescued from enemies in a swap. He was treated with respect and dignity despite being prepared for trial. He is given the respect for his services and sacrifice for America. Bergdahl was released on May 31, 2014, as part of a prisoner exchange for five Taliban members who were being held at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. This exchange and the ceremony announcing it, held in the White House Rose Garden, generated controversy in the United States. Asked whether he was surprised at the backlash, Obama said “I’m never surprised by controversies that are whipped up in Washington,” and he reiterated what he called a time-honored U.S. principle that “we do not leave anybody wearing the American uniform behind.”
    “… We don’t condition whether we make the effort to get them back.” Who wants to die for a country that treats you like trash. This should be part of the change.

  • SAM .A

    With the recent revelation of Dasukigate and purchase of weapons , Nigeria owe these soldiers apology and compensation . PMB should apologize to them for the maltreatment meted on them . They were indeed right .

  • Otile

    They should stop spreading this kind of news. This sort of news presents our new President in a very bad light. They know he does not like to waste food.

  • Omotolaaraujo

    The military is still broken.

  • GbemigaO

    What a mess of a country. Is it that even Buhari cannot look into this matter and ensure that justice is done ? What a shame !

  • Otile

    Mutane Najeriya, Jama’a barka da Maulud Nabiyi